El G and I both have an obsession with Vietnamese food – or more specifically Vietnamese fresh rolls, delicious light and fresh-tasting soft rolls filled with shrimp, pork and crunchy vegetables.
So we were looking forward to a night out at Mien Tay in Battersea on Friday night (they also have a branch in Kingsland Road in Shoreditch). London has quite a few Vietnamese places – there’s also Viet Grill and Cay Tre in Shoreditch and Hoxton, and Pho; but Mien Tay’s had some good write ups recently and it was a short post-feast stagger home.
Mien Tay isn’t really anything to look at from the outside, and inside with its bright lights and white paper tablecloths, is definitely cheap and cheerful. But there are also some treats – bottles of Saigon beer which made me nostalgic from a much-loved trip to Vietnam, super-posh thick wooden chopsticks, and coffee made the typical South East Asian way (with condensed milk – disgusting but reminded me with fondness of my trip). I’m quite easy to please.
First things first, fresh rolls with shrimp and pork. Absolutely blummin’ lovely especially with the thick satay dip. I could have eaten these all night. Then salt and pepper squid which sadly lacked a bit of flavour.
For mains, we had a sizzling duck with black bean sauce which arrived bubbling with heat – it literally exploded all over our table, which thereafter resembled an oil slick. It was tasty, thick and meaty but didn’t blow me away – we could perhaps have ordered something a bit more interesting. And, following a suggestion from Bibendum Wine on twitter, we had the steamed sea bass with ginger and chili. This was really gorgeous – a whole de-boned fish, delicately cooked and spiced, fresh and juicy, so it melted in the mouth.
Exploding duck with black bean sauce
DELICIOUS steamed sea bass (check out mucky tablecloth post duck-explosion)
All in all, for 3 beers, 2 starters, 2 mains, 2 portions of rice, and 2 coffees, we paid around £20 each and had a fun night. Recommended for a relaxed, tasty meal as long as you don’t mind the lack of glitz and glam (although I imagine the karaoke tables downstairs would be fantastically glam…). And next time I go, I’ll make sure I choose some of the more unusual menu options.